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Diamonds are Forever (James Bond) (original 1956; edition 2012)

by Ian Fleming

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2,017453,325 (3.42)71
Member:Shoosty
Title:Diamonds are Forever (James Bond)
Authors:Ian Fleming
Info:Thomas & Mercer (2012), Paperback, 245 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:***
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Diamonds are Forever by Ian Fleming (1956)

  1. 20
    Jamaica Inn by Daphne du Maurier (Sylak)
    Sylak: Another story involving a complex central character worth a good read.
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"Slowly the sting slid home into its sheath and the nerves on the poison sac at its base relaxed. The scorpion had decided. Greed had won over fear."

I won't copy all of the opening scene of Diamonds Are Forever, but this is one of the reasons why I keep reading this series - Fleming's ability to write nature scenes is phenomenal. They even make up for his writing about what passes for romance in these Bond novels. But I'll get to that later.

In Diamonds Are Forever, James Bond is tasked to investigate diamond trafficking that funds the American mafia. There are plenty of typical Bond capers which include passing himself off as someone else, getting entangled with a woman while undercover (haha) and converting her to the right side (i.e. Bond's side), blowing things up, gambling, and trying to foil the bad guys while Bond is being rescued himself by his friends.

As you know, I'm not a huge fan of James Bond himself, but in this novel he actually acknowledges how much he owes to his friend Felix Leiter. In fact, we get to know quite a bit about Felix - he has a sense of humor and he is happy to challenge Bond's snobbery. He's straight-talking, homophobic, but can be tactful, and he doesn't burn bridges. Leiter drinks just as much as Bond, which is probably another reason why they are friends.

Anyway, the cast of supporting characters in this book is what I enjoyed most. We have Leiter, and we have Tiffany Case, who is not a push over like her film counterpart but a pretty strong and independent woman with a tough past that leads her to reject other people, especially men.

Throughout the book I actually wondered how scenes might be written differently if they were told from her perspective - I would also have hoped that this might give me a clue about what on earth attracts her to this "Bond person" that she knows is lying to her on their first meeting. But alas, the book follows the adventure of James Bond....and so we get his perspective, which is - surprisingly - less sexist and less patronising than in the previous books.
Yeah. I know. That is not saying much. We still get Bond pondering in the following way:

"But was he prepared for the consequences? Once he had taken her by the hand it would be forever. He would be in the role of the healer, the analyst, to whom the patient had transferred her love and trust on her way out of the illness. There would be no cruelty equal to dropping her hand once he had taken it in his. Was he ready for all that that meant in his life and his career?"


Yeah. I know. Like she needs him to heal her and save her and .....ugh. But, as I said, it looks like he's come a long way since Live and Let Die where he described Solitaire as his "prize".

The characters I enjoyed most were, as in the other books, Bond's evil counterparts, except that in Diamonds Are Forever, the best baddies are not the criminal masterminds but their two henchmen: Wint and Kidd. They are such an unlikely duo, and yet, so evil. There is a scene in a spa that will stick in my memory for quite some time....


( )
  BrokenTune | Aug 21, 2016 |
Dia­monds are For­ever by Ian Flem­ing is the fourth novel fea­tur­ing British Secret Ser­vice agent James Bond, 007. The book was first pub­lished in 1956.

James Bond is assigned an under­cover inves­ti­ga­tion of a dia­mond smug­gling oper­a­tion from Sierra Leone to the United States. The oper­a­tion is headed by the Spang broth­ers, two mobsters.

Aided by Tiffany Case, Bond’s con­tact to the smug­gling ring, and Felix Leiter, Bond’s CIA con­tact, the agent dis­cover the many cor­rupt activ­i­ties of the mobsters

Dia­monds are For­ever by Ian Flem­ing was not as mem­o­rable as the nov­els before it. I enjoyed the sto­ry­line and that the char­ac­ter of James Bond grows, but the rest seemed to be a bit slow and less interesting.

Mr. Flem­ing could not write Las Vegas, the city seems to be lack­lus­ter in his writ­ing and the Vegas mob is no match for Bond. M, Bond’s boss, seems to think that the mob­sters are worse than the Rus­sians, I half expected him to either be jok­ing (unlikely) or get fired for being unable to read the enemy (he didn’t).

The one thing that does go for this book is that Mr. Flem­ing actu­ally devel­ops the female lead, really, the effort shows. Tiffany Case is a well-rounded char­ac­ter, with a per­son­al­ity and a won­der­ful sense of humor. One can see why Bond is smit­ten by her and enjoys her company.

The first half of the book is not very excit­ing, and sec­ond half of the book gets much bet­ter, but not enough the save the whole. A mediocre book which was, appro­pri­ately, made into a very mediocre movie, the two have very lit­tle in com­mon, but it is a sweet coincidence.

For more reviews and bookish posts please visit: http://www.ManOfLaBook.com ( )
  ZoharLaor | Mar 18, 2016 |
One of two Bond books I read on the beach in Cancun over the holidays this year. Always a great time. The movies are fun of course, but the novels are more enjoyable for me. The usual Fleming issues are here—sometimes sub-par dialogue, period racism, ridiculous American characters—but he was a tremendous describer of things and places and people. Not as great as others, but still much fun. ( )
  BooksForDinner | Jan 3, 2016 |
Diamonds, a fixed horse race,Las Vegas, the mob, a steam locomotive, and of course, Bond. ( )
  JoeKingman | Dec 26, 2015 |
Diamonds, a fixed horse race,Las Vegas, the mob, a steam locomotive, and of course, Bond. ( )
  JoeKingman | Dec 26, 2015 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Fleming, Ianprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Kellerman, JonathanIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lewis, DamianNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To J.F.C.B. and E.L.C. and to the memory of W.W., Jr. at Saratoga, 1954 and '55
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With its two fighting claws held forward like a wrestler's arms the big pandinus scorpion emerged with a dry rustle from the finger-sized hole under the rock.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Wikipedia in English (3)

Book description
James Bond surveyed the glittering diamonds that lay scattered across the leather surface of M's desk and wondered what it was all about.

The quiet grey eyes were watching him thoughtfully.

Then M took the pipe out of his mouth and drily gave Bond details of the assignment of which even M was afraid. And Bond walked out of the Headquarters of the Secret Service into his greatest adventure.

supersonic John Buchan - Listener

the best thriller of the season - Birmingham Post
Haiku summary
Double Oh Seven
fights American gangsters
who smuggle diamonds.
(yoyogod)

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0142002054, Paperback)

"Listen, Bond," said Tiffany Case. "It’d take more than Crabmeat Ravigotte to get me into bed with a man. In any event, since it’s your check, I’m going to have caviar, and what the English call “cutlets”, and some pink champagne. I don’t often date a good-looking Englishman and the dinner’s going to live up to the occasion."

Meet Tiffany Case, a cold, gorgeous, devil-may-care blonde; the kind of girl you could get into a lot of trouble with—if you wanted. She stands between James Bond and the leaders of a diamond-smuggling ring that stretches from Africa via London to the States. Bond uses her to infiltrate this gang, but once in America the hunter becomes the hunted. Bond is in real danger until help comes from an unlikely quarter, the ice-maiden herself …

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:21:18 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

British secret agent James Bond assumes the identity of a captured courier and solicits the help of gorgeous Tiffany Case, the diamond smugglers' American go-between.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 10 descriptions

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